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Friends, family pay homage to fallen elders in Romania

McKay Burrows spent four Saturdays constructing a 10-foot-tall retaining wall for a church campsite in the American Fork Canyon area.Friends told him he had done enough, but the same drive that led the 20-year-old Mormon missionary to become a concert-level pianist and win a scholarship to BYU made him strive to finish the project."He did everything. He organized the labor, he dug out the foundations, set the foundation blocks," said Patrick Hendrickson, a friend of the Burrows family and former bishop in the Burrows' Highland, Utah, ward before they moved. "It just exemplifies the kind of person he was."Yet it was the last big project Burrows would complete. Burrows and his missionary companion died Saturday from accidental natural-gas asphyxiation due to a gas leak in their apartment in Romania.Elder Burrows of Highland and Elder Jace Edwards Davis, 20, of Logandale, Nev., were serving in the LDS Church's Romania Bucharest Mission."Although McKay was only 20 years old when he left us, he accomplished so much good during his life," said the Burrows family in a written statement. "He was an exceptional student, graduating with honors from Lone Peak High School. He attended BYU on a scholarship. He was a highly accomplished musician, and mastered the piano with a concert pianist's skill to the delight, admiration and appreciation of all who had the good fortune to listen to him play."Hendrickson's son, Chase, who is also serving a mission, grew up with Burrows, and they were in and out of each other's houses their whole lives, said Patrick Hendrickson."Some people describe him as a pianist and a good student, and you picture someone bookish, but he was more than that," Hendrickson said. "He played football, basketball, hung out with friends, played video games. He did everything he could."The Burrows statement says McKay had a great many talents and shared them with others, and the family is grateful for the memory of him and his "faith, sincerity, obedience and dedication as a missionary."Family said McKay Burrows went to BYU on scholarship for a year but was excited to serve a mission."It's going to be sad, all his friends who served missions are going to get home at the same time period and miss him all the more," Hendrickson said.The same could be said of McKay's mission companion, Elder Jace Davis.Spencer Winzenried, who knew Davis since seventh grade, said he was a "genuine good guy.""He really was," said Winzenried, 21. "You hear when someone passes that they were great, but Jace really was."The 20-year-old missionary from Nevada was one of 10 valedictorians in Moapa Valley High School, and played tennis and basketball for years before attending BYU-Idaho for a year and leaving to serve a mission.One of the last times Winzenried saw Jace was on the deceased elder's trampoline before high school graduation when they talked about their future, views on the church and where they might be sent on missions."I remember just feeling like it was a good moment looking up at the stars," Winzenried said.He saw Davis once more at his own farewell shortly after graduation, and now, even though Winzenried has returned from his mission, he won't see Davis again."(Davis) was always a goofy kid," Winzenried said. "We'd always go to McDonald's and get hot fudge sundaes, and we'd always tease the person with the mic. Goof around and ask what was on the menu and what drinks they had, even though it was already there."Fellow BYU-Idaho student Sera Caldwell said she remembers Davis well from family home evening."(A friend) and I were just laughing today about fun times hanging out with him," Caldwell said. "It is very sad. At least now he can finish his mission up in heaven."